The Game Is About Glory, Not Time-Wasting

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Some may consider it ironic that this piece was penned whilst sat at work, with a stack of other tasks I should be involving myself with left untouched. But this is Spurs; the important stuff, the bread and butter, the…I digress. After three very valuable points picked up in Wales, keeping us very much in the hunt for a lucrative top four finish, a portion of the post-match discussion was dedicated to thoughts on the apparent time-wasting antics of both Brad Friedel and Gareth Bale.

Time wasting is frowned upon, and so much so that those in charge have actually made rules to try and stop it from happening where they see fit. More often than not, time-wasting falls into one of those infamous grey areas of ‘sportsmanship’. We’ve seen plenty of situations where a lack of sportsmanship has seen for a call for rule changes. Think, the ball being played back to the team with the injury once play resumes.

Surely when ‘sportsmanship’ is enforced, it’s no longer sportsmanship?

When your team is chastised for rule breaking, say a nasty red card, it’s easier to accept. Usually both sets of supporters will see a brutal challenge as ‘part and parcel’ of the game, unless it’s resulted in a lengthy injury or been committed by Joey Barton.

However, when the team that one so vehemently defends in the face of all adversity is accused of exploiting a loophole in fair play, it becomes a more awkward matter. Bending, but not breaking rules, feels cheap and all the more difficult to condone.

Personally speaking, I found it hard to discern whether or not Friedel’s lumbering dribbles were time wasting tactics or him having a ‘senior moment’, but whatever they were, it soon became frustrating. Equally frustrating were Bale’s ‘Thierry Henry’ like attempts to hold the ball in the opposition corner from 80 minutes onwards.

Not only does this feel a tacky way to cling onto all three points, it’s most certainly not in line with our famous ‘To Dare is to Do’ motto, it doesn’t seem like we even time-wasted well anyway. Between being terrified that Bradley might slip and dislocate a hip, and having to watch Gareth trying his best to be not only as gifted as but as disliked as Cristiano Ronaldo, I couldn’t help but find myself secretly hoping that Swansea would punish us.

But, just to clarify, Swansea scoring would have been a travesty, and would have been met with my best mad ape impression. However, Swansea hitting the post would have been the ideal knee to the goolies that we probably needed in order to wake us up again and see the game out.

Qualifying for the Champions League is important for the future of the club, but I believe that these small actions getting there are just as important, especially when one considers that every game we play further writes our club’s history.

Stoke might argue that their tactics of not playing football are essential, it keeps them in the Premier League and has them eating from the top table. But why bother when everyone else in the league considers you to be an absolute bore?

Our club is founded on terms like “free flowing”, “push and run”, “exciting” and not least “glory”.  Glory isn’t hallmarked by holding onto the ball like a toddler having a tantrum because he doesn’t want to play anymore, it’s about saying, “we’re Tottenham, we’re in your yard mugging you off, don’t you wish you supported us instead?”

It’s about moments like Danny Rose on his Premier League debut, it’s about Lennon running 70 yards down the pitch at the San Siro, it’s Peter Crouch nodding home the crucial goal at the Ethiad. It’s not about us being so terrified of losing that we don’t dare to win.

Maybe all of this will be forgotten, even by me, if we are once again in Europe’s elite competition next season. But I’d rather know we earned the opportunity in a fashion synonymous with the principles upon which this club is built.

Come on lads; make Sir Bill Nic and all the rest of us proud, Audere Est Facere.

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